Key takeaways from the revised reading framework

Last week, the DfE published the revised reading framework. To help guide you through it, here are the key takeaways which may provide implications for teachers or considerations as we plan for a new academic year…

Section 1: The importance of reading and a conceptual model

  • Parents who engage their children in books prepare them to be committed and enthusiastic readers… those children who do not have this experience at home should be taught early and effectively so that their difficulties do not restrict their full access to the curriculum.

  • Children who are good at reading do more of it; learn more and extend their vocabulary. Those who find reading difficult fall behind in all subjects and a vicious circle develops – implications from EYFS – KS1- LKS2- UKS2 and into KS3.

  • National Curriculum programmes of study for reading reflect the model of ‘The Simple View of Reading’ – teaching both word reading and language comprehension. Both require different sorts of teaching – implications for schools.

  • ‘Putting in the reading miles’ allows pupils to practise their reading, building experience with increasingly complex texts, gaining new language and developing fluency – how and when do schools provide opportunities for this?

Section 2: Language comprehension in Reception and key stage 1

  • Getting talk right in Reception and key stage 1 – through a language-rich environment where pupils take part in conversations and discussions. Vocabulary underpins learning and back-and-forth talk is both modelled and taught.

  • Children in Reception and key stage 1 need to be taught when to listen and know what good listening looks like. Teachers should help our youngest children to articulate their ideas into well-formed sentences (through scaffolding, extending and developing their ideas).

  • Poetry, stories and non-fiction should be chosen carefully for Reception and key stage 1 classes. Schools should consider book corners as mini libraires and focus on selecting/displaying books and promoting the books in the corner. Every book in the corner should be worth reading aloud – consider 30 to 40 books and at the start of the academic year include 20 of the children’s favourites from the previous year.

Section 3: Word reading spelling

  • The importance of the SSP programme and reading books which match pupils' progression in phonics. 

Section 4: Developing fluency

  • Developing fluency – as pupils gain fluency, their motivation increases: they start to enjoy reading more and are willing to do more of it. Both accuracy and speed are essential to be a fluent reader.

Section 5: Pupils who need the most support

  • Pupils who need the most support need to be taught using the school’s chosen phonics programme. Emphasis on the importance of being a reader to access the wider curriculum and identifying that those who fail to read early on often start to dislike reading. How will schools nurture this?

  • Identifying the importance of assessing and reassessing those weaker readers frequently so that they can make the fastest progress.

Section 6: What skilled readers can do

  • Teachers should understand what a skilled reader can do – implications for schools’ reading offers

Section 7: Choosing and organising books

  • Schools should provide different types of books to support pupils’ reading development including: decodable books for learning to read; books for pupils to read independently; picture books including graphic novels; long and short ‘page-turners’; literature; books for the wider curriculum and ‘hi-lo’ books.

  • Provides advice on organising books so they are matched to the appropriate level and choosing books which will be engaging and appealing. 

  • Book lists should be refreshed regularly as new books are published and new teachers arrive to avoid being set in stone.

Section 8: Developing a reading for pleasure culture

  • Developing a reading for pleasure culture requires schools to have a strategic approach which will nurture reading habits. Core strategies could include: adults reading aloud regularly in class; informal book talk; encouraging library use; providing time to read and sociable reading environments.

  • Book clubs – time to recommend books to pupils- can supplement story time or become part of the English lesson. Guidance given to support promoting texts in book club sessions.

  • Teachers need a good knowledge of literature and of their pupils as readers  (teachers as influencers)– part of keeping subject knowledge up to date (Teachers’ Standards). Pupils should have opportunities to choose books that appeal to them – choice as a motivator.

Section 9: Reading across the curriculum

  • Reading across the curriculum – carefully selected texts to support knowledge and vocabulary to be learnt for each subject.

Section 10: Teaching reading in the English lesson

  • Teaching reading in the English lesson – through ‘explicit instruction and conscious effort.’ Effective reading teaching needs to be planned carefully so it supports pupils to become confident readers.

  • Reading lessons need to create readers, not just pupils who can read. Implications for schools to support pupils to construct a mental model of a specific text so that they understand its meaning.

  • Texts chosen for reading teaching should include full novels that are read aloud.

  • Key elements for teaching reading in English lessons are: teacher reading aloud; pupils reading; teacher’s modelling and explanations and questioning.

  • The importance of reading whole texts without stopping for discussion is stressed – implications for schools for when this happens in teaching reading lessons.

  • Teachers can model and explain in shared reading (whole class); in small group reading or reading with an individual.

  • Understanding the difference between questioning in the reading English lessons to drive thinking and discussion or to assess. More emphasis on promoting discussion rather than teaching limited objectives – for example ‘we are learning to infer.’ Experienced readers draw on and use a variety of strategies all the time, not just one in isolation.

  • Teaching reading in English lessons is not the same as preparing for the key stage 2 reading assessment. The teaching of reading should not be organised around the eight content domains for reading (these are for test developers). Organising the teaching of reading around the domains – including being shared as child-friendly language or a mnemonic – will restrict pupils’ access to the wider national curriculum and is likely to inhibit their enjoyment of reading. Schools should focus on fluency and developing vocabulary to prepare pupils for reading assessments of unseen texts.

Section 11: National assessments

  • Section 11 summarises National assessments.

Section 12: Leadership and management of reading

  • Section 12 explores the Leadership and management of reading including requirements for the headteacher and English subject leaders.

Section 13: Supporting pupils’ reading in key stage 3

  • Section 13 supports pupils’ reading in key stage 3 and provides searchlights to different pages within the whole framework.

  • There are 13 appendices to support schools.

The main thread that runs throughout the revised reading framework is that reading more -increasing reading miles- and wanting to read more is exactly what pupils need to do to become readers.

Maddy Barnes, July 2023

Maddy Barnes is an experienced primary school teacher and senior leader who is currently a full-time English Advisor.
She offers bespoke training to support schools locally, nationally and internationally.
Maddy still regularly teaches in the classroom and includes live-teaching sessions in most of her training.
Maddy is an established educational author, writer, blogger and series editor for a range of educational publishers.
She is a DfE QA proofer for grammar and reading and works within test development.
Maddy is a KS2 Writing Moderator and blogs regularly for a range of educational settings.

Follow Maddy on Twitter @MoonMaddy


English, English and Literacy, English and Writing, english teaching, Reading, Reading and Ebooks

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